“In motivating people, you’ve got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example – and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved.”
Rupert Murdoch

Technology is one of the most important drivers for change in customer expectations. Organizations need to rethink how they attract and connect with potential customers and retain customers. In order to improve the relationship with customers organizations need to engage better with their (potential) customers.

Customer engagement (CE) is something different than customer experience (CX). Customer experience is the emotional connection organizations build with customers and the customer’s perception of your brand. Customer engagement refers to the interactions through the touch points between organization and customer. It also covers the actions customers undertake like buying products and service, liking and sharing information (e.g. via social media). So if the organization offers a good customer experience it creates brand preference and with good interactions through touch points customers can become more engaged.

Customers are more digital than ever. B2C and B2B have dramatically changed. Digital customer engagement forces organizations to align processes, skills and technologies in such away that a great digital experiences and seamless interactions are offered. Customer engagement is about encouraging customers to interact and share their experiences with your organization and through their own communication channels with their network. Through engaged customers your organization can foster business growth and loyalty.

The human connection build on customers’ emotions is very powerful to fuel business growth. Emotional motivators drive customers’ behavior and can have a big impact on customer satisfaction. An example of a major bank that introduced a credit card for Millennials to inspire emotional connection showed a segment increase by 70% and growth of new accounts of 40% according to the Harvard Business Review.

The chart on the right shows the value of emotionally connecting with customers and underlines the importance of engaged customers.

Engaged customer communication channels means faster communications

Providing customer service was simple in the era of emails and phone calls. Social media provides a lot of opportunities though. It does not only have a big impact on the emotional connection, it also provides convenience for (potential) customers. Social media and messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have disrupted the way customers communicate with companies. The 2015 B2B Buyer’s Survey Report uncovered that more than 50% of buyers use social media like LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with potential vendors. People expect a fast response to be taken seriously. Quick responses will increase the chance for customers to feel engaged and it will keep churn low.

Engaged customer communication channels means faster communications

Most organizations struggle with setting up the right structure to manage customer engagement in a proper way. McKinsey describes the challenge for many organizations aptly.

The critical moments of interaction, or touch points, between companies and customers are increasingly spread across different parts of the organization, so customer engagement is now everyone’s responsibility.

Speeding up is key to keep on improving customer engagement but there are also other solutions to keep up with customers’ expectations:

  • Be where your customers are and align their preferred channels with your own (multichannel or omni channel) presence;
  • Offer self service for customers who want their issues revolved quickly and are willing to take action themselves. Be sure this approach is secured with knowledge management in order to learn from customers’ input. Research revealed that digital self-service reduces email and call volume;
  • Personalize the experience through aligning customer data and behavior with your own CRM system and other customer data.